On March 5, 2016 about 75-ish(?) people gathered in A Different Booklist bookstore at 746 Bathurst Street just south of Bloor Street from 2-4pm to celebrate "the birth" of my very first picture book, Malaika's Costume. Planning this event felt like planning my wedding. I wanted to create an atmosphere that was "very Caribbean"-- warm, fragrant, rhythm-filled, welcoming. Itah Sadu, author and co-owner of ADB, and her staff created a wonderful window display and filled the shelves with Carnival headpieces that inspired. Soca and reggae music filled the air. Punch filled cups and containers containing Caribbean vegetarian fare-- Trinidadian doubles (a fried dough snack filled with curried chick peas), gizzada (a Jamaican tart filled with sweet coconut), cassava chips (Malaika's favourite that is over-priced in Canada), and homemade Jamaican patties. (I spent three-days making these Jamaican vegan beef patties with jerk sauce made from scratch and flavours called Tingle and Lava. Thanks to my mother who helped me to make the perfectly-shaped crusts.) You probably can tell, I am a bit of a foodie. (My first blog was mostly about becoming vegan.) I squealed with glee as everyone came-- my family, close friends, people I I have not seen in 10+ years, coworkers, my fellow CANSCAIP-, Sanofa's Pen-, and SCBWI-members, church friends, and many supporters and their kids. (They brought kids!) Standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the cozy bookstore (reminding me very much of the crowds during Carnival minus the blazing sun), the audience heard co-owner Itah grace us with a welcome, a few words from my publisher at Groundwood Books Sheila Barry, and then my reading of Malaika's Costume. My illustrator Irene Luxbacher and I signed books from all the attendees. My Groundwood Books publicist Cindy Ma, marketing director Fred Horler, and editor Nan Froman were all there. This experience was such a blessing! And given that we didn't have the horizontal space to do crafts (or Palance), we used the vertical space to dance to the Iwa-Shadow-Butterfly-Wave. Irene and I signed books and chatted with attendees. (That day we sold quite a few and now I am also happy to say that the copies at A Different Booklist have sold out (and they are now being ordered). I have included a slideshow of photos taken that day and soon will post some videos (once I figure it out). Thank you to all who came! Can't wait for Malaika's Carnival Book Bash at Albion Library on April 2!
Leave a Reply.